Category Archives: Restaurants

New York’s best coffee

-By Andrés

The New York Times has a map of the best coffee places in the city according to Oliver Strand and Matthew Bloch.

I’ve tried most of the places in Manhattan and, except for Gimme! Coffee, they are all pretty good.  My favorite espressos are at Ninth Street and Cafe Grumpy.  I love the macchiato at Joe.

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Di Fara pizza

-By Andrés

We finally made it to Di Fara.  We’ve been wanting to go for a while, but have always feared the long lines.  So on Sunday we decided to go and wait there before they even opened.  After more than an hour ride in the subway we got to Avenue J on the Q line and stood in line at Di Fara.

Domenico DeMarco, a Neapolitan immigrant, opened this pizza joint in 1964 and has continued to make his pizza, single-handedly ever since then.  He is 75 years old now and still going strong.

After waiting for around half an hour for our pie to be ready, we were rewarded with a delicious pizza with mozzarella and parmesan cheese, sprinkled with fresh basil and olive oil.  It was really good.  One of my favorite pizzas in the city.

Andalucía… on the road again

By Andrés

I love Spain.  I love its history, its ancient towns, its art, its culture, its architecture, and its wine.  But above all, I love its food.  The only thing they usually can’t make decently are salads which, among other defects, always contain an animal product.

Two weeks ago I visited Andalucía and I had to try some of the restaurants featured in Spain, on the road again, the culinary travel show through Spain in which Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Bitman, and Claudia Basols embarked.  Last year I tried some of the restaurants they visited in Cataluña and Valencia, which were great and a topic for a future blog.

The quality of the restaurants they visited in Granada was more mixed.  At El Rincón de la Aurora at the Albaycín, the old and charming city of Granada, I had a great (room temperature) appetizer of fava beans with olive oil and jamón serrano, which was as good as at Casa Pepe in Barcelona.  I then had a Plato Alpujareño, which is a huge dish consisting of a grilled pork solomillo (tenderloin), longaniza (a type of sausage), morcilla (blood sausage), jamón serrano, a fried egg, and patatas a lo pobre (baked potato slices with green and red peppers, onion, and a little bit of white vinegar).  I confess I substituted more longaniza for the morcilla, which I’ve never had the guts (mood?) to eat.  It was pretty good and really filling.

The food at Mirador de Morayma, the other Spain-on-the-road-again restaurant, was not that good.  The restaurant sits in the slopes of the Albaycín and features great views of La Alhambra, the moorish palaces.  Like at El Rincón de la Aurora, they had pretty good fava beans with olive oil and jamón serrano and it was equally tasty.  A lubina al limón (sea bass with a lemon sauce), however, was bland.  Fortunately, I accompanied with a good bottle of Alhambra Reserva 1925, the best beer I tried in the region.

In Marbella, on the coast of Andalucía, I had the best meal at the fisher’s dock in a restaurant called La Taberna del Puerto.  The pulpos (octopus) a la Gallega, thinly sliced with olive oil, paprika, and coarse salt, where exquisite.  And so were the grilled shrimp.

Vatan: Fantastic Indian Vegetarian Fare

By Sarah

Julio loves it when we have visitors. He loves that there are extra plates to lick, that there are more opportunities for petting, and that he’s more likely to be able to bend the rules a little bit. Rules, like not jumping up on someone’s lap without being invited, disappear quickly when there are new people in the apartment. This past weekend, for example, my parents visited and Julio was not only left unreprimanded after jumping up on many laps, he got away with cuddling between them through an entire night. It must be nice to be so cute that people let you get away with just about anything, like joining them in bed. And pet you for it too.

In addition to showering their “granddog” with lots of love and attention, my parents (and I) spent the weekend walking around the city, enjoying its sights and playing tourist. For me the highlight, besides just enjoying their company, was our dinner Friday night at the northern Indian (Gujarati) restaurant Vatan. Andrés first heard of this place from our Indian friends, who consider it one of the best in the city. Then Andrés’s father took us to Vatan over a year ago and it had stood out in my mind as a truly wonderful meal. Yet, for some unknown reason, I had never made it back. Silly me.

The restaurant serves a set menu, a kind of all you can eat buffet, but not what you’re thinking. Our waitress graciously brought three courses to our table, serving each of us a full tray of new, interesting food items. That’s one of the reasons I really wanted to take my parents here: you get to try so many different foods and yet you never have to make a decision. Another reason is that the decor and costumes, while a bit cheesy, do make you feel like you’re escaping to an exotic land.

Above is just the main course, which includes, clockwise from bottom left,  kheer (yogurt with fruit), chole (chickpeas with tamarind), ful-cobi (cauliflower with green peas), bhaji (spinach with corn), batakanu sak (potatoes in a tomato sauce), puri (puffed bread), toor dal (lentil soup), and papadam (cracker, center).

It’s enough to fill you up, but there’s also an appetizer course with just as many items, plus family-style sides, and ice cream and chai tea for dessert. And the most amazing part is that everything is delicious. I will certainly not wait another year to eat again at Vatan.

My Gotham birthday

By Andrés

My mom was here for my birthday and she invited Maki and me to the Gotham Bar and Grill. It was outstanding. Would definitely go back again.

This is what we had. Like always, we shared everything.

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Map of favorite places to eat around the world

By Andrés

I just added a Google map of our favorite places to eat around the world.
See our Restaurants page here.